San Francisco (8) @ Tennesee (19)
The 49ers offense is one of the best in football, ranking 4th in DVOA and 5th in EPA/play. Despite early season struggles, Jimmy Garoppolo has performed handsomely (pun very much intended) down the stretch. At 83.2, he has the second highest PFF passing grade from week 8 till present. For the entire season he's completing 67.4% of his passes (1.3% above expectation) and gaining 8.5 yards per attempt. Garoppolo ranks 32nd of 35 qualifiers on pass attempts that travel more than 20 yards, but throws the ball in the 10-20 yard range more than any QB in football. The 49ers are a run first team, ranking 30th in early-down situational neutral pass frequency. A combination of quick passes and a dominant offensive line has led to Garoppolo rarely being under pressure -- his dropback percent under pressure of 28.5% is 7th in the league. The offensive line is without a weak point. LT Trent Williams is the star of the group and has been the best lineman in all of football. George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk will see the bulk of the targets -- Kittle in particular is on actual fire, averaging 11 catches, 142 yards, and a touchdown per game over his last 3 games. Samuel has already eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards on the season, but is a badass who contributes to the running game as well -- he's racked up 7 rushing TDs this season. Jeff Wilson will get the bulk of the RB carries with Eli Mitchell (concussion) out. The offense is 4th in both rushing and passing DVOA. On the other side, the Titans are 13th in defensive DVOA and 11th in EPA/play. DE Harold Landry (58 pressures), DT Jeffery Simmons (54), and DE Denico Autry (53) are an excellent pass rushing trio. Kevin Byard and Amani Hooker is also one of the better safety tandems in all of football. Christian Fulton has also played well at corner. However, due to a series of injuries they'll be starting Chris Jones and Buster Skrine at corner. Jones has just 67 coverage snaps under his belt this season and has been awful in previous seasons, and Skrine wasn't good enough to play for the Jets. No further explanation should be necessary for Skrine. Their linebacking core is also one of the worst in football. They're about equal against the pass (15th in DVOA) and the run (17th), but solid safety play has helped them against tight ends -- they're 9th in DVOA against the position.
The Titans offense is 24th in DVOA and 18th in EPA/play. Due to an actual fuck ton of injuries to key players, Ryan Tannehill has been tasked with carrying the offense. He ranks 11th in PFF passing grades (78.8) while completing 66.2% of his passes (0.5% below expectation) and gaining 6.9 yards per attempt. The offensive line is typically solid, but they're missing LG Roger Staffold (shoulder/illness) and LT Taylor Lewan (back). Stud WR AJ Brown (chest) will be active for the first time since week 11, giving Tannehill some much needed help. Julio Jones is clearly still getting acclimated to the offense -- he had 4 catches for 33 yards in his first game back and put up an air ball on 1 target against the Steelers last week. With Brown back, the attention won't completely be on Jones, perhaps giving him a better chance to succeed. D'Onta Foreman will handle the bulk of the RB carries with Dontrell Hilliard chipping in. The Titans have been better running (17th in DVOA) than throwing (26th), but we naturally expect that passing DVOA to increase with both Brown and Jones healthy. The 49ers on defense are 9th in DVOA and 16th in EPA/play. The pass rush is led by Nick Bosa (68 pressures), DT Arik Armstead (41), and Arden Key (24). They blitz just 20.3% of the time, 28th most frequently in the league, and as a result generate pressure 24th most often. Fred Warner is a do-it-all linebacker, capable of solid coverage, stopping the run, and rushing the passer. SS Jimmie Ward is also one of the better safeties in football, excelling in both the run and pass game. The corners are the weak point of the defense -- slot man K'Waun Williams is the strongest of the bunch, but that's not saying much. It isn't ideal for the matchup since both Jones and Brown typically line up on the outside. The 49ers defense has been considerably better against the run (2nd in DVOA) than the pass (21st).
Spread: The 49ers are a 3 point road favorite. The model slightly prefers the 49ers, but the strength wasn't strong enough to warrant a bet. We recommend laying off.
Total: The total is 44.5, which may seem low for the matchup. However, both teams play on the slower side and prefer to run. I can't in good faith recommend either side.
Kyle Juszczyk o8.5 receiving yards -105 (FanDuel): The prop market keeps disrespecting this man. It's fucking insanity. This number falls short of Juszczyk's projection of 14. He's gone over this number in 8 of 14 games.
Ryan Tannehill o1.5 passing TDs +145 (DraftKings): Tannehill's projection sits at 1.3 -- he needs to hit the over 41% of the time for this to be +EV. The 49ers are better against the run and weak at outside corner, where the Titans top 2 receivers play.
Deebo Samuel o48.5 receiving yards -110 (FanDuel): This number is simply too low. Samuel's projection sits at 62.6. The argument that Samuel is the 49ers de facto running back doesn't come from reality. He's still on the field as WR in 2 WR sets. With Mitchell out the last two games, Samuel has lined up in the backfield for 9 and 7 snaps. He's lined up as a receiver on 46 and 49 snaps.